Charity embarks on Christmas challenge to serve breakfast to the homeless

Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson visits the Whitechapel Mission in 2016. Pic: Whitechapel Mission

The Whitechapel Mission will be opening its doors every day of December to give homeless people a hot breakfast.

Unlike many homeless centres in London, it will run on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

Groups of six to ten, who are aged over 16, can apply to take part in the challenge by selecting the morning they’d like to attend the charity’s centre on Whitechapel Road to help prep, cook, serve up and clean.

The charity also encourages people to apply solo and be placed in a group of people they do not know.

A spokesperson for the Whitechapel Mission said: “We supply one member of staff to supervise each session. Our Centre opens at 6am and closes at 11am each day. Our volunteers are required to be on-site by 5:45am latest.

We will not know how many people are going to arrive on any given day. It may be as few as a hundred or as high as three hundred, but we feel that if there is only one person knocking on our door then we should open that door and make them welcome.”

The charity also runs a number of challenges throughout the year and is best known for its breakfast challenge.

In the same format as their Christmas challenge, groups of volunteers are asked to attend the centre and serve up to 300 homeless people a hot breakfast.

Whitechapel Mission said their Christmas challenge is what really sets them apart though.

As well as breakfasts, Whitechapel Mission’s Christmas challenge asks for gifts which can be given to people visiting the shelter throughout the Christmas period.

The charity said: “For most of us, it’s a time of celebration, but for those who are homeless, it’s too often a day of painful memories of wrong turns, families lost and forgotten love.

Gifts help restore broken lives and broken families all year-round, providing homeless men, women and children with hot meals, safe shelter, and hope. But at Christmas, volunteers’ generosity gives them something more here at The Whitechapel Mission, a taste of family and the love we all crave.”

The charity estimates that 4,615 volunteers have supported them this year and worked for a combined 27,690 hours.

If you would like to volunteer at the Whitechapel Mission this Christmas, head here:

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